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Tech chief Paddy Lowe takes 'leave' from Williams Formula 1 team

Tech chief Paddy Lowe takes 'leave' from Williams Formula 1 team

Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe will take a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons, just over a week from the start of the new season.

But delays in readying its FW42 meant the team did not participate in pre-season testing until the afternoon of the third day.

Williams' 2018 vehicle finished bottom of the championship - the team's worst ever season - although both Lowe and Claire Williams insisted throughout pre-season that his job was safe.

Last year's Williams was the first designed by Lowe, but their season was challenging with aerodynamic problems on the auto, which led to them finishing tenth overall - Williams' worst in their history in the sport.

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Williams has tweaked the front-suspension and mirror design of its new-spec FW42 ahead of next week's Australian Grand Prix after receiving a briefing from the FIA on the car's legality.

Williams said in a statement that "Paddy is taking a leave of absence from the business for personal reasons".

That increased expectations for the FW42 but also raised the significance of the auto in terms of the competence of Williams's new senior structure.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams last week denied claims the auto was not completed on time due to delays with external suppliers or financial problems.

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